When I was growing up Halloween was always a time of good-natured pranks and vandalism. I knew my fellow students would enjoy practicing outdoor culinary breakfast marksmanship, meaning throwing eggs at things. I didn't understand these hijinx but wanted to fit in with the "cool" crowd. Being who I am, I knew I needed practice before showing up and embarrassing myself. I'm not sure how I'd embarrass myself; maybe I'd accidentally throw the carton.
During my practice session the thought of throwing perfectly good eggs felt wasteful. Instead, I purchased (with a sneer) plastic Easter eggs. Being empty they were extremely light, so I had to get in really close for them to even have a chance at making contact with my target. Mustering up all my teenage angst, I threw them violently and with devastating accuracy, providing the wind didn't blow real hard. You should've seen them ricochet off surfaces, making devastating plinking sounds. I'm surprised I wasn't on COPS.
Of course, I picked them all up afterwards because I didn't want to leave a mess. 2009 was a pretty crazy year.
Flash forward to Halloween 2011 and I'm pretty sure the only reason my wife wanted to have a child in the first place was to carry out her covert plot of acquiring neighborhood peanut butter cups. Unfortunately last year when I took our daughter door-to-door I failed to secure enough to meet her approval so this year I was regulated to door duty. While I appear to have been demoted, I prefer to look at it as though I've been promoted to Candy Distribution Manager and Neighborhood Costume Quality Control Supervisor.
I was fine with this, but unfortunately my door-greeting costume was banned before making a single appearance.
"You're not going as Sexy Davey Crockett," she said before adding too late "And I don't even want to know what that means."
By that time I already hopped into the living room shirtless wearing a coonskin hat.
I've come to realize children seem to think saying "Trick or Treat" is optional. What they fail to realize is so is me giving them candy. So while their silent candy demands may not get a Butterfinger, what the DO receive is a heaping scoop of the science called cause and effect. For some reason they don't find knowledge all that delicious.
If you come to my door, understand you will be harshly evaluated and the candy you may or may not receive will be based on the following criteria: A) Originality B) Overall costume design C) Attitude
Top Tier: Excellence Rewarded
Technique: Door knock, original costume, enthusiastic greeting
Response: Full candy out of the "Good Candy" bucket of your choosing. Beer for parents. Well done.
Middle Tier: You Tried
Technique: Door knock, mediocre costume, unenthusiastic or prompted greeting
Response: Pre-determined candy either out of "Good Candy" or "Bad Candy" bucket based on attitude and/or if I "get" your costume. Overall you're not awful but there's clearly room for improvement.
Bottom Tier: Failure
Technique: Door knock, awful or no costume, unenthusiastic greeting
Response: Cherry lip balm or Luden's cough drops dropped into bucket with the appropriate amount of disdain.
Get Off My Porch Tier
Technique: No knock, hold out sack, no costume, no greeting or vocal pleasantries of any kind
Response: I calmly find the worst of the worst candy (a piece of loose candy corn, an old playing card or possibly the receipt for the bucket). Palming so they cannot see, I reach down and place this into their stash, while slyly removing two pieces of superior candy in the process. You'd be amazed at how far kids these days allow you to reach inside their buckets or pillowcases. I call this the "Gypsy Sweet Tooth Switcheroo."
Candy saving tip! If you're getting low on candy, simply lift up your shirt and press your chest against your glass storm door. This typically dissuades children from approaching.
BONUS candy saving tip! Instead of handing out sugary candy next year, make a giant pot of Ghoul-ash ? which is essentially goulash but pronounced with a bad Dracula accent with special emphasis so people understand why you're ladling scoops of lukewarm meat and noodles into their open palms.
My favorite Trick-Or-Treater this year had to have been the child dressed as a "Something in a mask" who walked slowly up to my door, said nothing, looked at me with creepy dead eyes and slowly raised his pillowcase. It was fun because I looked him dead in his masked eyes and slowly shut the door.
Kelly Van De Walle is the senior creative & marketing writer for Briscoe14 Communications (www.briscoe14.com). He can be reached at email@example.com or via loving message carved into a tree stump proclaiming how much you "heart" him "4-ever." Follow Kelly on Twitter @pancake_bunny or he will follow you for REAL (scary because Halloween!).